forgiveness…

Just finished listening to a Mars Hill podcast. They’re working through a mini-series on forgiveness, and boy is it powerful and enlightening stuff.

The latest one looks at the parable about the king and the debtor, and how the king is willing to throw away the book that contains just how much the servant owes to let him walk away, but the servant can’t reciprocate that to the guy who owes him.

The kingdom picture seems clear. Grace means forgiveness that we can’t earn and certainly don’t deserve. The way the world works would see us forever trying to salve our conscience to no avail and forever carrying grudges against those we’ve perceived have wronged us, looking for opportunities to get even. We would never be able to be unburdened and eventually we would end up paying for all our mess by being forever separated from God.

God knows we can’t work our way into his good books so he does something about it.

Grace.

Awesome.

But it doesn’t stop there. How can we then live as the world lives if we’ve experienced this kind of forgiveness? How can I bear a grudge? Who am I to say that God’s way of doing things is just messed up? If I can’t forgive…then that separation from God is going to be a very real thing.

That scares me…but that’s not why I should forgive. It should be because I want to live how God lives.

Generously.

Making it clear that we have to give up all the crap of the past and take up this new, forgiven and forgiving way of living.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean people don’t ‘pay’ for what they may have done, but instead accepts that God is on top of sorting that out. When we can’t or won’t forgive, we’re kind of saying that we don’t trust Him to do this.

Powerful stuff, eh?

Made me think about a couple of relationships that I need to work on…

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4 thoughts on “forgiveness…

  1. The king ‘forgives’ debtors and then has them tortured over a debt that he lied to them about having forgiven.

    As Jesus said ‘That’s God ,that is’.

  2. Hi again Stephen,

    Have you had a chance to read the passage I’m exploring in this post? If not you can find it here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2018:23-35;&version=31;

    It seems here that the point is that the only reason the King goes back on his promise to forgive the debtor is because the debtor can’t forgive the guy who in turn owes him. Thus, the original debtor gets judged because of his unwillingess to represent the grace he himself has experienced.

    A salutary lesson to Christians – as Jesus says “don’t judge or you’ll be judged yourself”.

    Hope that helps. That’s the God Jesus seems to point to.

    Grace be peace,
    Martin

  3. The King behaves exactly like the person he condemned. He only pretended to forgive the debtor. Basically, he lied when he said the man was no longer in debt.

    Still, if this alleged god forgives me all my sins, then he is perfectly entitled to have me tortured in Hell….

  4. Thanks again. I guess we’re probably going to have different points of view on this. I don’t think that there’s any pretence on behalf of the King. He just seems to take action on the evidence that’s presented to him of the debtors lack of forgiving lifestyle. Maybe forgiveness of our debts is conditional on our response to that forgiveness. It seems to me to be reasonable that there should be some kind of way that the debtor should choose to live in response to what’s happened to him. The ‘punishment’ he then experiences is just in that he hasn’t learnt from the King’s example.

    Thanks again.

    Grace and peace,
    Martin

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